I arrived at the International Conference on Creationism excited about the great work being done in the field of Creation Science, and I expected this to be an excellent opportunity to learn more about the latest and greatest ideas- and I wasn’t disappointed. The list of speakers was impressive, and, being familiar with much of their work, it was a great opportunity to meet the scientists and researchers who are doing the heavy lifting, publishing their work, and making tremendous headway. I had the pleasure of speaking with many of these scientists in person after their sessions, during lunch and breaks, asking questions, chatting, and was able to get their thoughts on a wide variety of topics. The only difficulty I had during the conference was trying to figure out which seminar to attend; it turns out that there were three different seminars occurring at the same time and in different locations, so we had to make some hard decisions and pick one (at some point I expect we’ll have access to all the seminars).
In some ways it was overwhelming because there was so much information to digest over such a short period of time, and a lot of it was technical (with mathematical formulas and new terminology), but I was well rested and ready to go (although I had to recharge with periodic coffee breaks!). This was the first time I was able to see so many scientists, researchers and organizations from all over the world at the same place at the same time presenting their work. It was certainly a rewarding experience. I thought it was even humorous over one lunch break when one of the volunteers called this “nerd heaven for creationists”. I laughed and had to agree. This truly was a great conference for creationists to advance their work and interact.
I’ve decided to break down the events into smaller chunks, so hopefully that’ll make it easier to follow. I’ll present two of the sessions here, and then make a separate post for the three remaining sessions. The ones I decided to attend on Monday were with Mark Amunrud presenting “Seeing Distant Stars in Near-Real Time”, Georgia Purdom and Andrew Snelling and their work on stromatolites, Karen Badinger on chromosome number changes, John Whitmore on post-flood erosion, and finally Mark Horstemeyer presenting a State of Affairs.
Mark Amunrud (Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Montana State University and a Master’s of Science from Montana State University) presented his model as to how stars could have been seen on Day Four of Creation Week. According to the Bible, God made the stars, sun and moon on Day Four, less than 10,000 years ago, and this is in contrast to the secular Big Bang theory which tells us that stars began forming nearly 15 billion years ago. Since the Big Bang theory is the leading cosmological explanation in science, creationists have had to provide a competing theory to explain how light could arrive on earth so quickly over such long distances.
First, Amunrud explained how space itself has never been adequately defined by science, and that there are still many scientists who argue over the definition (weather it’s a concept or substance). Einstein wasn’t even consistent in how he defined it. Space is invisible, untouchable, tasteless, odorless, silent, and unobservable. So what is it? The definition Amunrud proposed is that space is a physical substance consisting of small, paired spaces that can be mapped. His theory, called GWPS (Gravity Warps Paired Spaces) proposes that gravity effects the size of these spaces, causing them to become smaller near a large object like the sun, so light would move across these spaces- not at ‘meters per second’, but at ‘spaces per second’, and this would allow for light to travel over great distances very quickly. Light would travel through a constant number of paired spaces per second because the volume of paired space is inversely proportional to the gravity at that location. The speed of light would remain constant, and from earth we wouldn’t be able to see any difference.
This would also explain some of the anomalies we’ve experienced with spacecraft in deep space. We receive signals from spacecraft faster than expected based on their location.
I think this is a good theory worth more research and experimentation. I like some other models better, but at least it’s helpful in advancing an accepted creationist model. Amunrud certainly has work to do, and other astronomers at the conference were quick to bring up concerns (such as retarding factors), so I’ll be interested in following this further.
In contrast, I think the public at large doesn’t realize that the secular Big Bang theory has many problems of its own (hypothetical entities such as dark matter and dark energy) and isn’t even agreed upon by scientists; in fact there’s a growing list of scientists opposed to it because it relies on a number of assumptions about the past that cannot be observed or proven. None of us were there when the universe was created, so we have to piece together what we’re able to learn about the past and the universe from the way it operates now. One advantage creationists have is that God has provided us with His Word, so we have a good starting point.
The second session I attended was with Georgia Purdom (PhD in molecular genetics from Ohio State University) and Andrew Snelling (PhD in geology from the University of Sydney, Australia) from Answers in Genesis, and they presented their work on stromatolites, which are laminated and lithified structures resulting from microbial activity over time.
Living stromatolites are rare, but can be found in the Bahamas and Australia. Fossil stromatolites, however, are relatively abundant and can be found within 500 miles of living ones. These fossils are primarily found in the Precambrian (pre-Flood), and are mostly absent or rare in the Phanerozoic (flood) sedimentary rocks, but are abundant and widespread in Proterozoic sedimentary rocks. Both creationists and secular scientists find these relevant. For creationists, they could help determine the boundaries in the Creation Week, pre-Flood and Flood strata, while secular scientists are interested in research because it calls into question the timeframe for the origin of life.
There’s some question over the biological nature of the fossils because fossil microbes are lacking from stromatolites- this means there’s a chance that not all the structures are biological in origin. A set of criteria from studying living stromatolites has been developed to help determine the biogenicity of fossil stromatolites, however there’s no evidence that can unequivocally indicate their biogenic nature.
These stromatlites are made of “guilds” of bacteria working together as a community, and since the growth rate depends on environmental factors, there’s no consensus on growth rate. There are other factors that determine growth rate as well, such as cycling, which also causes a lamineer appearance, and that makes dating difficult.
Snelling indicated that we can’t be dogmatic that all stromatolites are biologic in nature because there could be inorganic processes at work, but he thinks they’re genuine biologic structures based on the criteria developed. Now we have to demonstrate how they fit into a Biblical framework, such as whether or not they’re due to post-Creation/ pre-Flood growth processes.